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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- NEW YORK 24 22 24 18 88 MINNESOTA 21 17 24 17 79 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: NYK - ALLAN HOUSTON 27, LATRELL SPREWELL 27, KURT THOMAS 12 MIN - WALLY SZCZERBIAK 22, KEVIN GARNETT 16, TERRELL BRANDON 13

HIGH REBOUND: NYK - KURT THOMAS 14, LARRY JOHNSON 14 MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 10, LAPHONSO ELLIS 9

HIGH ASSISTS: NYK - CHRIS CHILDS 8, TWO PLAYERS WITH 4 MIN - TERRELL BRANDON 10, TWO PLAYERS WITH 4

ATT: 18,322


Extended Box

NEW YORK (88) AT MINNESOTA (79)

NEW YORK REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

L JOHNSON F 39 3-8 2-2 5 9 14 4 4 1 1 8 RICE F 9 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 THOMAS C 38 6-18 0-0 4 10 14 1 4 0 3 12 HOUSTON G 39 10-19 4-4 0 2 2 2 2 1 2 27 SPREWELL G 42 12-23 2-5 2 6 8 3 1 2 1 27 STRICKLAND 18 0-3 0-0 0 2 2 4 0 1 0 0 CHILDS 37 2-5 5-6 1 3 4 8 4 0 4 10 LONGLEY 17 1-3 2-2 3 6 9 0 2 0 0 4 KNIGHT 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 BRUNSON DNP - PERSONAL REASONS CAMBY DNP - LEFT GROIN STRAIN POSTELL DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 34-80 15-19 15 39 54 23 17 5 11 88 (.425) (.789) TEAM REBS: 4 TOTAL TO: 13(6 PTS)

MINNESOTA REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

K GARNETT F 42 8-16 0-0 1 9 10 4 2 1 1 16 SZCZERBIAK F 39 9-21 4-4 2 3 5 2 4 1 1 22 D GARRETT C 21 2-3 0-0 0 4 4 1 0 0 0 4 BILLUPS G 14 2-4 0-0 0 1 1 2 4 1 0 5 BRANDON G 41 5-14 3-4 1 4 5 10 2 5 0 13 PEELER 33 3-14 0-0 0 1 1 4 4 0 1 6 NESTEROVIC 11 0-1 0-0 0 3 3 0 1 0 2 0 AVERY 12 1-4 2-2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 ELLIS 21 3-6 2-2 1 8 9 0 2 0 2 8 JACOBSON 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 MITCHELL 5 0-2 0-0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 SLATER DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 33-85 11-12 5 33 38 25 21 9 7 79 (.388) (.917) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 8(6 PTS)

NEW YORK 24 22 24 18 - 88 MINNESOTA 21 17 24 17 - 79

BLOCKED SHOTS: NEW YORK - SPREWELL 2, L JOHNSON, LONGLEY. MINNESOTA - K GARNETT 2, D GARRETT, ELLIS. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: NEW YORK 5-11 (.455), L JOHNSON 0-3, RICE 0-1, HOUSTON 3-5, SPREWELL 1-1, CHILDS 1-1. MINNESOTA 2-12 (.167), K GARNETT 0-2, SZCZERBIAK 0-1, BILLUPS 1-2, PEELER 0-4, AVERY 1-3. TECHNICALS: NONE. OFFICIALS: MIKE CALLAHAN, MARK WUNDERLICH, LEON WOOD. A - 18,322. T - 2:12.


Box Score

NEW YORK (88) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp L Johnson 39 3-8 2-2 5-14 4 4 8 Rice 9 0-1 0-0 0-1 1 0 0 Thomas 38 6-18 0-0 4-14 1 4 12 Houston 39 10-19 4-4 0-2 2 2 27 Sprewell 42 12-23 2-5 2-8 3 1 27 Strickland 18 0-3 0-0 0-2 4 0 0 Childs 37 2-5 5-6 1-4 8 4 10 Longley 17 1-3 2-2 3-9 0 2 4 Knight 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Brunson DNP - personal reasons Camby DNP - left groin strain Postell DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 34-80 15-19 15-54 23 17 88 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.425, FT-.789. 3-Point Goals: 5-11, .455 (L Johnson 0-3, Rice 0-1, Houston 3-5, Sprewell 1-1, Childs 1-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 4 (Sprewell 2, L Johnson, Longley). Turnovers: 13 (Childs 4, Thomas 3, Houston 2, L Johnson, Sprewell). Steals: 5 (Sprewell 2, Houston, L Johnson, Strickland).

MINNESOTA (79) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp K Garnett 42 8-16 0-0 1-10 4 2 16 Szczerbiak 39 9-21 4-4 2-5 2 4 22 D Garrett 21 2-3 0-0 0-4 1 0 4 Billups 14 2-4 0-0 0-1 2 4 5 Brandon 41 5-14 3-4 1-5 10 2 13 Peeler 33 3-14 0-0 0-1 4 4 6 Nesterovic 11 0-1 0-0 0-3 0 1 0 Avery 12 1-4 2-2 0-0 0 1 5 Ellis 21 3-6 2-2 1-9 0 2 8 Jacobson 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 Mitchell 5 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 1 0 Slater DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 33-85 11-12 5-38 25 21 79 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.388, FT-.917. 3-Point Goals: 2-12, .167 (K Garnett 0-2, Szczerbiak 0-1, Billups 1-2, Peeler 0-4, Avery 1-3). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 4 (K Garnett 2, D Garrett, Ellis). Turnovers: 8 (Ellis 2, Nesterovic 2, K Garnett, Peeler, Szczerbiak). Steals: 9 (Brandon 5, Billups, K Garnett, Mitchell, Szczerbiak). ____________________________________________ New York 24 22 24 18 - 88 Minnesota 21 17 24 17 - 79 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: None. A: 18,322. T: 2:12. Officials: Mike Callahan, Mark Wunderlich, Leon Wood.


Game Story

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Contrary to popular belief, Allan Houston's return did nothing to hinder Latrell Sprewell's offensive game.

The New York Knicks' "big backcourt" was in sync all night, combining for 54 points -- 27 apiece -- and leading their team to its season-high fourth straight victory, 88-79 over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Houston missed his first game in nearly four years on Friday due to a stomach virus and Sprewell benefited most from his absence, scoring a season-high 32 points in a 95-68 rout of Chicago.

With Houston out of the lineup, Sprewell was able to start at shooting guard -- his natural position before coming to New York before the lockout-shortened 1999 season. But the explosive 6-5 guard seemed quite comfortable sliding back into the playmaker's slot tonight and he and Houston looked comfortable sharing the brunt of the ballhandling and scoring.

"Allan is the guy that has pretty much carried us all year," Sprewell said. "I'm starting to get in a little bit of a groove myself. When he and I are both playing well, it puts a lot of pressure on the other team defensively."

The duo combined for 20 of the Knicks' 24 third-quarter points as they pulled ahead to stay, 70-62, entering the final period. Sprewell and Houston also accounted for 24 of the Knicks' last 26 points, thwarting a late Minnesota rally.

"When we're executing and we don't turn the ball over, it's our job to make plays," Houston said. "I thank the Lord, he healed me up tonight. I got some rest and was able to get some food back in my system. I just felt physically well enough to go out and give an effort."

Larry Johnson and Kurt Thomas grabbed 14 rebounds apiece for the Knicks, who dominated the boards despite the absence of starting center Marcus Camby (groin).

"They're physical, they always play that way," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "They've got guys that go out and compete and play hard, and they're going to be physical. They communicate and they're very aggressive and they dictate how you're going to play. They don't let you dictate to them."

New York native Wally Szczerbiak scored 22 points for the Timberwolves, who slipped to 5-18 all-time against the Knicks.

Sprewell and Houston combined to make 22-of-42 shots and 12-of-25 in the second half, when the rest of the Knicks were 2-of-17. The dynamic duo also was 6-of-9 at the line, grabbed 10 boards and committed just three turnovers.

"When Sprewell and Houston are shooting with that much confidence, they are impossible to stop," Szczerbiak said.

Thomas scored 12 points and Chris Childs added 10 and eight assists off the bench for the Knicks, who shot 42.5 percent (34-of-80) and held a startling 54-38 advantage on the boards.

Kevin Garnett scored 16 points and Terrell Brandon added 13 and 10 assists for Minnesota, which shot 39 percent (33-of-85) and yielded just six points off turnovers.

Anthony Peeler's 18-footer got the Wolves within 58-57 with 4:29 left in the first half, but Sprewell and Houston refused to relinquish the lead. Sprewell struck first, hitting jumpers from 14, 18 and 13 feet before knocking down two free throws to open a 66-59 lead.

Luc Longley made two free throws and Sprewell hit a 13-footer that stretched the margin to 70-59 with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.

Houston started the fourth quarter with a flurry, connecting on a 15-foot runner and two free throws before Sprewell made a driving layup. Houston followed with two from the line as New York opened a 78-65 cushion with 7:25 to play.

Minnesota used a 14-4 run to pull within 84-79 with 1:10 remaining, but Houston calmly sank a 22-footer on the ensuing trip, burying the Wolves' comeback hopes.

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